LOVE & COURAGE

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September 2019 marks the 20th death anniversary of Jesuit priests: Fathers Tarcisius Dewanto, SJ and Karl Albrecht Karim, SJ along with other priests, nuns, seminarians, and lay people who shed their blood for the country. Their love and courage will be remembered to inspire our young people.

September 2019 is also a historic year for the Jesuits in remembering their two brothers and priests, Fr. Tarcisius Dewanto, SJ and Fr. Karl Albrecht, SJ, that were killed because of sacrificing themselves to protect those who were suffering from brutality and violence and fled their homes and families. Their deaths signify a meaningful lesson and revive in our hearts the spirit of love and sacrifice for others. Their friends and families will always be remembering the love and courage that they gave to others especially the Timorese people who found a safe haven in their arms times of hardship and suffering. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.

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Raising a Jesuit Priest

IMG_8768 copyOn Saturday morning, July 27th, 2019, was the day that marked another achievement for the community of Metinaro and also for the Society of Jesus in Timor – Leste. It was the priesthood ordination of Deacon Roberto Madeira Encarnação, SJ in Our Lady of Grace Parish of Metinaro, an outskirt village of the capital city, Dili. A crowd more than a thousand people – the community, families of Deacon Roberto, Jesuits, religious, lays, pastoral groups, local authorities, and all the guests who were present that day gathered to celebrate the ordination.

The celebration of the ordination mass preceded with a cultural moving ritual followed by turning over by the family their beloved son to the Society of Jesus and the church as represented by the Superior, Fr. Joaquim Sarmento SJ. In a unique way, as part of the Timorese culture, Roberto was wearing his white robe but also fitted with a traditional headdress with Kaibauk and also a Tais, a very typical Timorese traditional clothing, wrapped around his waist.

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“Companions on the Journey” – A Reflection on the Railaco Immersion Tour, Timor-Leste

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My son Elijah (10) and I went to Timor Leste with a great desire to ‘help’, but I left satisfied that simply being me (a mother, a wife, a friend, a teacher) and ‘sharing life’ with the people, especially in the remote area of Railaco, was the greatest gift I could give.

It is difficult to sum up a week of the most authentic, awe inspiring and humbling experiences but I share here a few special connections made on our journey to becoming ‘no longer strangers’, but good neighbours and caring companions to the people of Timor- Leste.

In the absence of a shared language, I experienced the simple yet extraordinary power a smile can have. The silent ‘knowing’ between mothers, sharing food, singing and dancing together – all can engender trust and cement even the most unlikely of friendships.

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